Islands and Beaches
Discovery Points Near Ballina
Some are single such as Achill Island, others are in little groups like the Inishkea Islands, but each island is special and has its own character, its own colours and lights. Many have a rich history and heritage and gave saints and pirates shelter; some are a paradise for biologists such as Clare Island where they discovered lots of species unknown to science and some are main tourist attractions, where holidaymakers can enjoy pristine waters, bays and unspoiled beaches.
For all these Mayo’s Isles wildness and rough pastures are of the essence. Here visitors can be aware of the unspoiled beauty of the west.
Inishturk, meaning “Island of the Wild Boar” and also known as Turk, is an inhabited island. It is a small and attractive island located 14.5km off the coast of Mayo, between the islands of Inishbofin and Clare.
It boasts hilly landscapes, wonderful views and beautiful beaches with fantastic clear blue waters, ideal picnic and swimming spots and offers breathtaking pathways and trials, heaven for hill-walkers. The most beautiful beaches are Tranaun and Curran located on the eastern side of the island where there are two main settlements: Ballyheer and Garranty.
The western and southern steep cliffs facing the Atlantic Ocean offers spectacular views and off them, there are rugged sea stacks named Alnarehoo, Boughil Mor, Boughil Beg, Turlinmore, Carrickboola and Glassillaun rising to 200m above sea level. They are home to a wide range of breeding seabirds such as Fulmars, Guillemot, Black Guillemot, Razorbill and Puffin. On Inishturk there are excellent safe viewing points where birdwatching lovers can spot seabirds flying, catching fish and feeding their young. The best time to visit and see breeding seabirds runs from May to July. This tranquil island is also rich in archaeological and historical sites.
Mayo has a large number of offshore islands and islets lying around its shoreline like a pearl necklace.
Situated at the entrance to Clew Bay, Clare Island is the largest of Mayo’s offshore islands. Located off the West Coast, Clare Island is 3.5 miles from the mainland and is also the largest of the 365 islands in Clew Bay, it is 5 miles long and 3 miles wide.
With its varied landscape of spectacular cliffs, inland mountain terrain, the gentle peak of Knockmore (461m) and pristine beaches, Clare Island is an ideal destination for hill-walkers and nature lovers. Here they can enjoy discovering large colonies of sea birds, alpine flora and neolithic and bronze-age archaeology. The island is full of amazing scenery and the clear waters surrounding the island are known for their exceptional dive sites.
Achill Island is the largest island in the County (24km x 19km) and is accessible from the mainland by the Michael Davitt bridge at Achill Sound. Its magnificent golden sandy beaches, breathtaking sea cliffs and bare mountains make Achill one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in Ireland.
It boasts a long history of human settlement and there is evidence that Achill was inhabited as many as 5,000 years ago. Beautiful villages such as Dooagh, Dooega, Dugort and Keel lay on the shore of the Atlantic. Achill is unique and offers experiences to remember in every season. About Achill, someone said “a place to go to before you die”
A stop on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, snuggled into the Sligo Coastline lies the seaside town of Enniscrone, the perfect choice for your getaway; whether it’s a family holiday, a weekend away with your other half or to simply escape the hustle & bustle. The breathtaking landscape and coastal scenery of Enniscrone will captivate and remain in your heart long after you have returned to the everyday world. Steeped in culture, Enniscrone offers visitors an authentic Irish holiday experience.
Explore our renowned 5km beach; discover some of Enniscrone’s hidden gems; take a GPS enabled guided audio walk of the town and learn about the history; enjoy a horseback ride on the beach, relax after an eventful day by having a seaweed bath, the possibilities are endless. Enniscrone also boasts Surf Schools, an 18 hole championship golf course, Waterpoint Aqua Park, Kiddies Playground and crazy golf & much more.
Situated near the county border with Mayo, just 10 km from Ballina and 56km from Sligo, the town’s location makes it the perfect base for exploring the beautiful landscapes counties Sligo and Mayo have to offer. Catering to each individual’s needs, with much to offer, it is clear to see why Enniscrone is one of the top holiday’s destinations for family holidays and weekend getaways in Ireland. If it is a relaxing break, a fun family holiday or a weekend of craic, Discover Enniscrone is sure to help you create that perfect Enniscrone Holiday.
Clew Bay has, according to tradition, 365 islands, one for every day of the year. It’s probably the most beautiful bay in Ireland, and the views of it from all around Westport are spectacular. The biggest, Clare Island, guards the entrance to the sheltered bay and is home to 130 people. With its Blue Flag beach and many historical and archaeological sites, Clare is a must-see island for the visitor willing to take a short ferry ride.
Most of the others in the bay are uninhabited, although a few brave souls cling to the age-old tradition of living on a small island all year round. The islands in Clew Bay have partly drowned drumlins, which are elongated, steep-sided hills, sometimes described as whale-backed, that were formed when glaciers reshaped the landscape in the last ice age. Many of the hills on land around the bay are similar drumlins.
The bay is surrounded by some of the best Blue Flag beaches in Ireland perfect for many water sports.